Have you ever dreamed of hunting ducks or doves without giving away the location of your honey hole to a dozen other hungry hunters? Or shooting game and varmints quietly in a legal suburban setting? Or teaching new shooters to break clays while minimizing their exposure to muzzle blast and recoil?
Well, welcome to the new world of the 6' barrel.
It all started in 1993 when suburbia began to interfere with L.P. Brezny's crow hunting haunts. As houses crept ever closer to some of the best crow roosts in Minnesota, Brezny began experimenting with a concept. He theorized that if he could slowly degrade the gas inside a shotgun barrel, it would reduce muzzle blast, minimizing the sound of the discharge and, as an added benefit, moderate recoil. If the theory worked, the benefits would be he could continue hunting crows in suburbia and probably kill more of them because of the reduced sound signature.
The Gas Burner
To get there, Brezny knew he needed a "gas burner" as he described it to me. The solution was a long, long barrel. It's not exactly an item one has lying about, so Brezny took three feet of aluminum conduit, pressed it over the end of a Remington 870 barrel and epoxied it in place.
What followed was seven years of experimentation involving testing different lengths of his 12-gauge bloop tube, drilling portholes of various sizes and locations in the barrel extension to rapidly bleed off gas, and developing sub-sonic handloads. Brezny admits that more than just a few people thought he had absolutely gone off the deep end when they saw his 6' barrels, but he was killing more crows than ever before, and the neighbors weren't complaining.
By 2000, Brezny was sure he had a viable commercial product. Using subsonic handloads at around 850 fps, he had reduced the sound signature of a 12 gauge to 72 decibels, or about the same level as a car door slamming. Recoil was significantly reduced. Patterns were better than ever because gas pressure at the muzzle was so much lower. Equally important, at 850 to 900 fps, the game loads proved as effective on game as any standard load out to 40 yards. All he needed was a manufacturer.
He contacted Hastings, a prime supplier of quality aftermarket barrels and chokes. Hastings was interested, especially because the urban animal control market was heating up. Verney-Carron of St. Etienne, France makes Hastings' superb, concentric barrels, and they agreed to turn out a prototype.
Hastings marched the...